THE GAZETTE is launching a campaign today to change the burial regulations in place at Thornbury cemetery.

As it stands if you have not held a permanent residence in the town for 28 days you are subjected to double the rate for a plot in the cemetery.

Last month we featured a story about Mr Ernest Shepherd who, after living in Thornbury for almost 50 years, had to sell his home to be able to afford care costs at a nursing home in Wickwar.

Sadly Mr Shepherd, who had previously worked at Oldbury Power Station, passed away just 42 days after his home had sold at the age of 94.

However, his family was shocked when they received a bill for double the rate of a person who lived in the town after he was buried in Thornbury Cemetery.

Mr Shepherd’s son-in-law, Nigel Osborne, 63, from Thornbury, who initially brought the rules to our attention said he’s in full support of the campaign:

“I’m totally in favour of the Gazette’s campaign, we’ve spoken to a lot of people because of the story in the paper and all but one have been supportive of our side of the argument."

The cemetery is run by Thornbury Town Council who said that they have to stick to the rules that are in place at the time as it would be unfair if, in certain cases, the council made exceptions.

The cost of a plot at Thornbury Cemetery for local people is £462, the price is doubled to £926 for people classed as not local, which Mr Shepherd fell under after having moved to a nursing home in Wickwar.

Gazette editor Skip Walker said: “It seems to me on occasion that common sense has been abandoned by bureaucratic bodies to the significant detriment of the ordinary man and woman in the street and this is a case in point.

“It is crazy that you can live in a place for most of your life, or even all your life, contributing to the community and paying local taxes, only to lose your rights as a local citizen five weeks later because you had no option but to move to a place outside the town boundary to be cared for.

“The burial plot rule is absurd and that is why the Gazette is campaigning against it."